After a slow start to the 2011 season, Roy Miller became an important figure on the Red Bulls backline in the team’s final charge towards the playoffs.
This season, he just hasn’t been able to find that form.
“This year, it’s cost me a bit to maintain the regularity I have had before,” Roy Miller told EoS. “It’s hard to explain. I have no idea what it may be, but there are games like that.”
Miller was torched by the Portland Timbers last week forcing Red Bulls coach Hans Backe to sub him out early in the first half. “Personally, I am OK recognizing that it wasn’t my best game against Portland, but you keep your head up and wait for the next game,” he said. “There are games that things don’t happen for you. That was the case with me. I think Sunday, there were moments that things didn’t go the way I wanted but there are moments like that. You have to pick up your head, and the important thing is we won.
“We are professionals and we have to learn to manage our way through these things.”
The poor performance prompted reporters to ask Backe about the future of Roy Miller on the defensive line, implying a possible switch to the left midfield.
“I like the idea. I have played there before. It’s a position I know and like,” Miller said. “The good thing is you get to go up on the attack which I really like but those are all decisions for Hans to make. I am at his command.”
When asked about the possible move after Thursday’s practice, Backe didn’t seem as welcoming. “I don’t know who asked me, but I said he’s been playing perhaps one friendly or something like that in a wide left position,” Backe clarified. “He can do it. It’s a similar position as a left back, a little bit more attacking and he is a little bit more of an attacking player, but normally for me he is still our left back.”
In fairness, Miller has produced in spots. He is currently second on the team in assists behind Thierry Henry.
For Backe, Millers dip in form is simple to explain. “I think it was definitely that way in England when players came back from International- they were quite fatigued,” he said. “We have to look into that for the next games we play in the MLS.”
“Last week really drained me,” Miller admitted. “It is no excuse. I want to keep up my rhythm and fitness. But a little bit of work will do me good on this long week and ready for the next game.
“I tell my teammates I don’t want to put excuses. It wasn’t a good day. I had traveled a day, two days before, trained very little and made it to the game OK, but Sunday it wasn’t that way. I think it happens and you have to learn how to navigate those things.”
The navigating will likely continue for Miller as Costa Rica will be taking part in a home and home series against Mexico on the 7th and the 11th of September. In preparation, Coach Jorge Luis Pinto has already been in conversations with Miller and following his progress.
“He called me to see how I was feeling,” Miller acknowledged. “Everything is good, everything seems to look like I will be with them (for the coming international break) but it needs to be made official.”